The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers can still spoil the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles’ bid to go for a perfect season.
To do that, they have to stop graduating veteran Thirdy Ravena from being at his best again in Game 2 of the 82nd University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball finals on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“He played well. This is his last year. Hopefully, we can cover him on Wednesday,” said Growling Tigers’ coach Aldin Ayo.
The 6’2” Ravena provided headaches to the Growling Tigers’ cause when he led with 32 points and went 14 of 18 from the field in the Blue Eagles’ 91-77 toppling of UST.
This is the second highest output from a player this season, after Jamie Malonzo of La Salle struck with 34 points at the end of the elimination round.
In the past two seasons that Ateneo has reached the finals, Ravena has always been at his best, leading Ateneo with 21 and 38 points in season 81 when the Blue Eagles put away University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons twice for the season 81 crown.
In season 80, Ravena made 17 and 20 points in carrying Ateneo past La Salle for top honors.
Ravena is just one player whom Ayo will need to deal, aside from others who can step up.
“If we want to stop them, we’ll have to stop the whole team. If you focus on Thirdy only, the other guys will step up also,” said Ayo,